Blogs & Commentary

Intersectionality and identity politics

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

I’ve been avoiding wading into the more-heat-than-light discussion about feminism and intersectionality, partly because more than enough bytes have been expended on the topic, but mainly because I don’t really fancy the backlash. But the pedantic, smart-arse side of me can’t keep quiet any longer, and I’m arrogant enough to think that what I have to say might fall into the light-generating rather than heat-generating category, so I’m giving it a go.

There’s clearly some deep misunderstandings going on amongst feminists and other lefty progressive types about what intersectionality is and what it demands. After all, the people who are troubled by the discourse of intersectionality are not white supremacists or Westboro Baptist style homophobes, but tend to be people with egalitarian political principles and a strong commitment to social justice. The more vocal proponents of intersectionality often explain this unease the rest of us have with it by reference…

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